Some Facts of Life, Painting and ...

  • 1961 Attended Ruskin School of Fine Art Life classes, Still Life Drawing, Painting in Oil.
  • 1963 Oxford School of Art. Tutors included Leonard McComb.
    Foundation studies for Dip.A.D. Water-colour, oil, graphics, jewellery design, etching, photography, book-binding and sculpture.
    Development in welded metal sculpture.
  • 1964 Summer School at Barry Island, Wales.
    Metal sculpture. Tutor: Tom Hudson.
  • 1964 Exhibition at St Catherine's College, Oxford.
    Mainly brush and ink. Greatly influenced by Japanese and Chinese Schools.
  • 1965/66 Lived in Philadelphia and New York. Worked as interior designer and continued painting.
    Among others, Helen Frankenthaler a great influence.
  • 1969 Birth of son, Jason
  • 1971 Birth of daughter, Cherry
  • 1974 Moved to, and continues to live in, South West France.
    Profoundly influenced by Palaeolithic Art. Member of Prehistoric Society.
  • 1977/78 Morley College - etching. Adrian Bartlett's Department
  • 1982 Putney School of Art - etching
  • 1982/84 Chelsea Vicat Studio. Brian Carvallo's classes.
    Painting and drawing. Evolvement of visual expression in abstract terms.
    Increasing use of water colour. Figurative representation of landscape and still life.

Painting and Archeological Illustration

  • 1983/84 Intense development of interest in archaeology and prehistory. One year at Museum of London as a volunteer finds illustrator.
    Six months volunteer drawing collections (metalwork and ceramics at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
    Wessex Trust - illustrated finds for Allington Avenue excavation, Maiden Castle, Dorchester.
  • 1984/89 Exhibitions at Pelham Street, London of current paintings, including figurative landscapes, portraits and drawings from life, but showing an accelerating output of abstract expressionism

Professional Archeological and Antiquities Illustration

  • Rome MINTURNO Excavation, Prof. Ruegg
  • Oxford Illustrated Aron Collection. Dr James Allan's publication
  • Heathrow, London HBMC publication.
    Prof. Grimes excavation - Dr J Close Brooks
  • Pompeii Frescoes. Dr M S Spurr's publication
  • London Rock Crystal. Dr J Raby's publication
    Palaeolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman.
    Romano British, Medieval Collections at the Museum of London
    Stockley Park Iron Age Pottery - West Middx. Archaeological Unit (MoL).
    Mixnam's Pit, Thorpe - Iron Age & Romano-British
    Publication Drawing for Dr John Cotton
  • Crete Artefacts. Sinclair Hood, Knossos
  • Egypt Egyptian Exploration Society - Saqqara
  • Memphis Survey. Publication Dr David Jeffreys
  • 1989-90 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Dept. of Antiquities
  • 1990-93 British Museum. London, Greek & Roman Dept.
    Roman Lamps Publication Dr D Bailly,
    Greek Mythology publication Dr Lucilla Burns.
  • 1994-95 Musée D'Eyzies and Musée de Perigord, Dordogne, France
  • 1995 Discontinues archaeological illustration to devote herself exclusively to her life's work... Painting


The works of Susan Goddard are broadly speaking in the abstract expressionist tradition and the influences include such as Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler. The last name on the list, an American artist who was born in 1928, is important because Su salutes her as a major inspiration and influence. Abstract expressionism is a mode of externalising internal feelings and ideas in forms whose logic is determined not by the constraining facts of nature, but by a more mental repertoire of images. Often these images are pre-existent in the mind before the artist takes up the brush, but on many occasions they only come into being once the production of the physical painting gets underway.

Susan Goddard's work maintains a tensely poised balance between the inner world (which must necessarily be private) and the outer, but it is clear that in her case the treasure-house of natural, organic forms is distinctly influential. Not that these forms are reproduced literally; a transformative process has been at work - as if the human intelligence were capable of generating shapes analogous to natural forms. Many of these paintings were produced in a studio deep in the Dordogne wood, where the insistent presence of the natural shapes could not be avoided. Nature often seems to be engaged in obsessive acts of printing - lichens and fossils on stone, worm tracks in bark, wind tracks on water, and endless cameo effects of light on dark and dark on light. Other forces of nature are observable in these paintings, where forms analogous to cloud-shapes and volcanic eruptions are visible. Another presence felt in these paintings but not usually directly seen is the human body, which is an element in Su's aesthetic both as observed visual presences and tactile presences - influenced by her ballet training. Also available is the rich repertoire of man-made, mind-made shapes, which any artist must encounter: shapes pre-existing in the physical world, and coming independently into being in the mind and on the canvas and the paper. Often these will be severely geometrical and austere. Su's sustained interest in architecture, including the planning of interiors, forms a reservoir from which to draw, and also the archaeological illustrations she produced for the Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and the Perigueux Museum. Archaeological artefacts of this kind inevitably invite responses which range from the historical and associative through to the aesthetic 'pure form' modes.

What is remarkable about the works is that they are mostly in watercolour. Traditionally, abstract expressionist artists have been high-profile votaries of oil, often involved in macho drama, melodrama even. Watercolour, on the other hand, is often supposed to be tight, limited and highly controlled. There have been exciting attempts to enlarge the scope of watercolours - one thinks of Kandinsky and Klee - but generally the little squares of paint in the neat black boxes have invited caution and reticence. However, Susan Goddard's work expresses mental excitement, mental turmoil even. Like much of her best abstract expressionism, it makes no bones about drawing inspiration from what the medium itself can offer - the paper, the pigment, the water. In her work they all come together with a species of volition independent of the artist, yet also controllable by the artist.